Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 219–228 | Cite as

Promoting responsible conduct: Striving for change rather than consensus

Commentary on “Ambiguity, trust, and the responsible conduct of research” (F. Grinnell)


I believe that the ASBMB and the SFN, as well as many scientific, engineering, and other professional societies have taken the right first step. They have taken some responsibility for providing guidelines to their members and others working in related areas. This is how it should be. If professional guidelines are to be meaningful, they must be defined in large part by the practitioners.

Yet, having agreed that we need professional societies to become involved, we now must determine the nature of that involvement. I hope that a comparison of the ASBMB and SFN documents will serve to illustrate the differences between two approaches. I cannot be sure that one is better than the other. But I do believe that we should not, cannot, avoid the details. I also believe that to affect change one needs to capture the attention of the audience and to promote active thought—discussion if possible, controversy if necessary. And change is what we need.


neuroscience professional societies sharing materials Society for Neuroscience 


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Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, S-526 Biomedical Science TowerUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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